I like maps and you like maps, of course we do, otherwise we wouldn’t be such good friends. And if you’re a regular reader with a moderately good memory you may recall this pic of me unfurling a map I bought in Tokyo, showing the whole of Japan:
I suppose it’s a kind of ribbon map, but I’m sure the Japanese have a much better word of their own for it.
And here’s an 1866 ribbon map of the Mississippi that appeared on Atlas Obscura recently, from the David Rumsey Map Collection. It’s eleven feet long and three inches wide, totally pocket-sized, and its title is Ribbon Map of the Father of The Waters.
Now that I’m temporarily living in Chelsea, in London, every time I walk up to the tube station I pass, and in some cases walk over, this map set in the ground near to Duke of York Square:
If there’s any onsite information explaining the map I’ve yet to find it. It’s near to the Saatchi Gallery so it might be a work of contemporary art, but I can neither confirm or deny that.
However, digging around online I did find this map on the National Archives website.
Paper and concrete versions aren’t identical, not least in the variant spellings of Majesty’s and road, but they're close.
The paper map dates from 1830, but according to the National Archives it shows King’s Road (nobody seems to care either way about the apostrophe) as it was in the early 18thcentury. Before that, King’s Road, was the road belonging to the King, in this case Charles II, for the use of the royal family, travelling between London and the out of London palaces. I don't suppose they walked.
1830 was the year it cased to be a private road and became a public highway, but from 1720 or it had been a toll road that the public could use if they paid for the privilege. So the map is a kind of route finder and a guide to the fare stages.
In vaguely-related matters, a few weeks back I picked up, for a quid, a copy of the Ladybird Book, Understanding Maps. No mention of ribbon maps, but there is this totally wonderful guide to help you understand gradients: